New Delhi: The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper will arrive in New Delhi on Monday (October 26, 2020) with the aim to expand cooperation to promote stability and prosperity in the India-Pacific and the world.
Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. He will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold discussions with other government and business leaders on ways to advance the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.
The talks between US and India will focus on four themes — regional security cooperation, defense information sharing, military-to-military interactions, and defense trade, the US State Department said in a statement on Friday.
Pompeo’s arrival will reportedly mark the fourth visit to India by a Secretary of State during the Donald Trump Administration.
Wheels up for my trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with our partners to promote a shared vision for a free and open #IndoPacific composed of independent, strong, and prosperous nations. pic.twitter.com/IoaJvtsHZC
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 25, 2020
Earlier in February 2020, President Trump also made a historic visit to India and spoke in Ahmedabad in front of over 1,00,000 people.
“The United States and India have a strong and growing bilateral relationship built on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” said the US Department of State.
“Holding the third US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in just over two years demonstrates a high-level commitment to our shared diplomatic and security objectives,” they added.
They also released a fact sheet which stated that as of 2020, the United States has authorized more than $20 billion in defence sales to India.
“Defense trade has increased significantly over the past two decades. India maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the United States,” read the official statement.
“We are expanding cooperation between our two militaries. This includes our navies, which play a critical role in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific. In July 2020, the Indian Navy successfully completed a passing exercise with the U.S. Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group transited through the Indian Ocean Region,” said US.
This is to be noted that in 2019, the US and India held their first-ever tri-service exercise, Tiger Triumph, in which the US Navy and Marines, Air Force, and Army participated in a bilateral exercise with their Indian counterparts.
The United States has also welcomed Australia joining the Malabar naval exercise alongside India and Japan.
“The United States and India enjoy robust defense industrial cooperation. Through the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defense equipment,” said the US.
They said that as outlined in their National Security Strategy, the United States welcomes India’s emergence as a leading regional and global power.
The US said that it looks forward to collaborating closely with India during its upcoming term on the UN Security Council.
“India, with its large economy, strong support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and its growing international trade, is one of the world’s leading economic powers and is well-positioned to promote our shared vision for a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific where all nations can prosper,” said the US.
The US’ fact sheet said that the Indian students enrich its universities and colleges, contribute to the American economy, and build lifelong bonds with Americans.
“The number of Indian students studying in the United States has increased five years in a row, more than doubling from 96,000 students in the 2012-13 academic year to more than 2,00,000 in 2018-19.”
“The Indian diaspora in the United States is nearly four million strong. More than 50,000 Indian-Americans gathered in Houston over a year ago to attend the ‘Howdy Modi’ rally, the largest-ever gathering with a foreign political leader in the United States,” said the US.